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Newsletter February 2010


Finding Synergies in Australia

For decades bound by historical and community ties, Greece and Australia are today active trade and investment partners, with the potential to significantly increase bilateral commercial relations.

A recent mission to Australia by Invest in Greece underlined the strong interest to increase bilateral trade and investment. At events in Melbourne, Sydney, and Perth, Australian businesspeople demonstrated a keen interest in a number of areas, especially where strong synergies exist, such as renewable energy, ICT, and tourism related projects.

George Georgiou, f. President of the Hellenic Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Western Australia, was enthusiastic about the mission and what he saw as opportunities by Australian businesspeople in the Greek market.

"The Invest in Greece mission to Perth, Western Australia was a great success and attracted significant interest from the local business community. Greece offers a variety of investment, trade, and partnership opportunities and I am optimistic that new business will result due to the Invest in Greece mission," said Mr. Georgiou.
"Western Australia, as the country's biggest exporter of oil, gas and minerals, was the driving force behind Australia's ability to avoid a recession- one of the few developed economies managing to do so. As such, the state has the wealth, expertise and outward looking capacity favourable to bi-lateral investment, trade and exchange of technology. I see particular potential with Greece in the areas of renewable energy, waste management, and medical technology," he said.
According to the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade:
"Greece and Australia enjoy a close and constructive relationship based on strong community ties. Large numbers of Greeks migrated to Australia during the 1950s and 1960s; the 2006 Census records 109,989 Greece-born migrants, and 365,147 people of Greek ancestry living in Australia (based on country of birth of parents). Some estimates suggest the Greek community in Australia could be as large as 600,000. The Greek population is concentrated in Melbourne (41 per cent) and Sydney (30 per cent). Melbourne, Sister City to Thessaloniki, has been described as the third largest ‘Greek city’ in the world and is an important overseas centre of Hellenism.

“The strong community links between Greece and Australia are a major focus of Australian Government business in Greece, and so, therefore, is the provision of consular services. Frequent cultural exchanges take place, often between specific communities in both countries. Several Aegean and Ionian Island communities migrated in large numbers to Australia after World War II (for example, more Kastellorizians and Kytherians live in Australia than on their home islands). Nowadays their descendants are reinvigorating the bilateral relationship through frequent travel back to Greece for holidays, study and work. An enduring historical link has resulted from the involvement of Australian troops in the defence of Greece during World War II. Australian soldiers fought alongside troops from Greece, New Zealand and Britain during the Battle of Crete (May 1941) to defend the island against German invasion. Many were killed and several thousand taken prisoner in a battle that is still commemorated annually.

In 2008-09, two-way trade including services between Greece and Australia was worth about A$229 million. Australian merchandise exports to Greece totalled A$68 million while goods imported from Greece were worth A$161 million. Australia's key exports to Greece vary considerably from year to year. Medicaments, specialised machinery and parts, starches, insulin and wheat gluten, and hides and skins comprised the majority of Australian exports to Greece in 2008-09. Australia's main imports from Greece include vegetables, aluminium, cheese and curd products, and medicaments.

Australia and Greece signed a bilateral social security agreement on 23 May 2007 to provide improved social security protection to people who have lived and/or worked in both Australia and Greece. The social security agreement also exempts Australian employers from the need to provide Greece social security support for Australian employees sent temporarily to work in Greece, provided the employee remains covered in Australia, by compulsory superannuation arrangements.

Select trade data: Greece - Australia

 Australian merchandise trade with Greece, 2008-09:

  Total share:


 Growth (yoy):

 Exports to Greece (A$m):





 Imports from Greece (A$m):





 Total Trade (exports + imports) (A$m):





Australia's trade in services with Greece, 2008-09:   


 Exports of services to Greece (A$m):



 Imports of services from Greece (A$m):



 Australia's investment relationship with Greece, 2008 (e):



 Australia's investment in Greece (A$m):



 Greece's investment in Australia (A$m):



Source: Australian Government | Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade